A series regular says goodbye, as the final pieces move into place for next week's sure-to-be explosive season finale.
The blood started flowing in the penultimate episode of the season on "The Walking Dead," as a major player was killed off and the table was set for a final showdown between Rick Grimes and Negan.
And while a battle royale between them is long overdue, this week's episode made it clear it could be anybody's game and a double-cross could be waiting around any and every corner.
Here are the 5 things we need to talk about from "Worth."
Carl's Letter to Rick Revealed
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) only appeared at the top of the show tonight, as he cried while reading his son's final goodbye message for the first time. We've included it in full below. Michonne (Danai Gurira) also found the letter Carl (Chandler Riggs, returning for a voiceover) wrote Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), reading it to him at the end of the episode. Those words can be found at the bottom of this post.
I remember my 8th birthday at the KCC with that giant cake and Aunt Evie showing up on leave surprising all of us. I remember mom. I remember Codger. I remember school and going to the movies and Friday night pizza and cartoons and grandma and grandpa and church, those summer barbecues and the kiddie pool you got me. Could have used that at the prison.
You told me about the walks we'd take when I was three. You holding my hand around the neighborhood all the way to Ross' farm. I didn't know that I remembered them, but I do because I see the sun and the corn and that cow that walked up to the fence and looked me in the eye and you told me about all that stuff but it isn't just that stuff, it's how I felt. Holding your hand, I felt happy and special and I felt safe.
I thought growing up was about getting a job and maybe a family, being an adult. But growing up is making yourself and the people you love safe, as safe as you can because things happen. They happened before. You were shot before things went bad. I kind of felt like things went bad because you were shot. I want to make you feel safe, dad. I want you to feel just like I felt when you held my hand. Just to feel that way for five minutes, I'd give anything to make you feel that way now.
I wanted to kill Negan. I wish I did, maybe it would have been done. I don't think it's done now. You went out there again, but I don't think they surrendered. I don't think they will surrender. There were workers in there, dad. They're just regular people, old people, young people, families. You don't want them to die, dad.
We're so close to starting everything over and we have friends now. It's that bigger world Jesus talked about: the Kingdom, the Hilltop, there's got to be more places, more people out there, a chance for everything to change and keep changing. Everyone giving everyone the opportunity to have a life. A real life. So if they won't end it, you have to. You have to give them a way out.
You have to find peace with Negan. Find a way forward somehow. We don't have to forget what happened, but you can make it so that it won't happen again, that nobody has to live this way, that every life is worth something.
Start everything over. Show everyone that they can be safe again without killing. They can feel safe again. That it can go back to being birthdays and school and jobs, and even Friday night pizza somehow, and walks with a dad and a three-year-old holding hands. Make that come back, Dad. And go on those walks with Judith. She'll remember them. I love you. Carl."
The big question for next week's finale: will he be able to fulfill his son's wishes in regards to Negan. While we don't see him working in the Hilltop garden anytime soon, we have a pretty good feeling Rick won't kill him at the end of the day.
Negan's Right Hand Men Defeated
The majority of the action tonight revolved around Negan and his two not-so-trusty sidekicks, Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Simon (Steven Ogg).
After returning to the Sanctuary, Negan was ready to reclaim the throne, as both men did their best to take him down in their own way. Unfortunately, it backfired big time for both of them.
Let's tackle Simon first. While berating his right-hand man for what he did to the trash people, Negan confirmed Simon was the one who also wiped out Oceanside's male population. "A lot of people would think that is some psychotic shit," he said, adding that he kept a close eye on him ever since. After making Simon get on his knees to meet his death, Negan eventually let him go.
On a high from escaping the bat, Simon tried to take out Negan for good, thinking both Dwight and Gregory would help him. They didn't. Instead, they told Negan what he was up to, leading to all the rogue Saviors getting killed and the Big Bad challenging Simon to a proper fight to the death. Beyond angry that Simon's retreat at Hilltop likely gave Team Rick a spark of hope, Negan choked the damn life right out of the guy, before setting him up as one of the walkers around the compound. RIP Simon.
Dwight didn't win any brownie points with Negan for turning on Simon, though. Unfortunately for our burt-faced friend, Negan picked up Savior Laura on his way back to Hilltop, who -- in a seriously 'Oh snap' moment -- relayed how he betrayed them all in Alexandria. The intel Dwight had just given to Rick about Negan's plan? Fake. Instead of helping the survivors, he just walked them right into a trap. Negan doesn't kill Dwight though, telling him, "I got plans for you."
How screwed do you think Dwight is going into the finale? We know Negan doesn't trust him and now, the people at Hilltop won't either when his info leads them to sudden doom. He could very well bite the proverbial bullet next week and it could come from either side.
Again We Ask, Is Eugene Redeemable?
Eugene (Josh McDermitt) was having a grand old time eating his mac and cheese and bossing Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) around, until Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) decided to take him hostage.
After erroneously theorizing their lingering "nostalgia" for him was the only thing keeping him alive, Rosita set him straight real quick. "I know who you are, you're the reason they were able to escape the Sanctuary. Everything that's happened since then, everyone who's died. That's on you," she fired at him. "You're selfish, you're a coward, you're a traitor. Shooting you in the head right now would actually make the world a better place. We're not gonna kill you, not because we give a rat's ass about you, but because we need what's up there [pointing to his head]. You'll live, but we're gonna force you to do something useful with your pathetic life."
Not feeling too great about his prospects with them, he made himself vomit all over Rosita, to distract her just long enough to run away and hide among a pile of ash. It was all seriously disgusting.
He returned to his workshop -- which seemed like a bad idea, since we all know Daryl and Rosita know where it is -- and told his people to get back to work. "We will change Savior history, evermore," he told them, telling Gabriel, "You follow my lead or you can cry and die."
Then, as he sat down and joined them at the table to fulfill Negan's expedited bullet order, his rallying words were, "Here we go, time to do something useful with our pathetic lives."
The question here: what kind of bullets will Eugene start making?
Earlier in the episode, he called out Gabriel for making bullets that would backfire, injuring or possibly killing those who used them. Now you don't drop a Chekov's bullet like that without reason. Could Eugene finally take Rosita's words to heart and, instead of supplying Negan with bullets that'll take out the Alexandrians, give him ones that'll literally blow up in their faces? This would put Eugene back on Team Rick, and make Gabriel believe he had a purpose. Two birds, one stone.
Meanwhile, In Oceanside
The survivors persistence on the women of Oceanside may have finally paid off.
Aaron's (Ross Marquand) been wandering around the woods ever since Enid (Katelyn Nacon) left, not doing a lot to make that much of an impression on the ladies there. He's weak, dirty and has a knack for passing out in the middle of the forest.
After killing off a few walkers and collapsing to the ground, the women find him, and he gives them a speech that could be the one that convinces them to join their battle against the Saviors. "You don't live the life you want because of them. They hurt you, they're gonna keep on hurting you, unless you do one thing: fight."
That's all that happened there, so if they still don't join up for the finale, this whole storyline has been a total waste of time.
After stepping outside to admire his handiwork with Simon, Negan got a call on the walkie talkie from Michonne. "This isn't about Rick, it's about Carl," she explained. "He wrote you a letter. And I'm delivering it because that's what he wanted. Just shut up and listen." Below is what the note said:
Negan, this is Carl.
I was helping someone, I got bit. Didn't have to even be doing what we were doing, I was just helping someone and now I'm gone. You might be gone, maybe my dad made your people give you up and he killed you but I don't think so. I think you're still around and you're working on a way out, maybe you got out, maybe you think we're a lost cause and you just want to kill all of us.
I think you think you have to be who you are, I just wonder if this is what you wanted. I wanted to ask you, I wish I could have. Maybe you'll beat us and if you do, there will just be someone else to fight. The way out is working together, it's forgiveness. It's believing that it doesn't have to be a fight anymore, because it doesn't.
I hope my dad offers you peace, I hope you take it. I hope everything can change. It did for me. Start over. You still can. Carl.
Negan, however, wasn't feeling sentimental, telling Michonne he wouldn't even consider a surrender if they offered it. "Winning is about killing every last one of you. That is starting over," he explained. "I never wanted this. Rick made this happen. You tell him that. No more talk."
It's all going to come to a head next week, in a season finale that'll hopefully settle the Hilltop vs. Saviors battle for good, one way or another.
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays on AMC.